Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Living on Impulse - New York Times

Living on Impulse - New York Times: "'The way I think of it is that one factor has to do with the urges people have, and the other has to do with the brakes they apply,' she said.

How and when people apply the brakes is crucial to distinguishing those who can flirt with regular heroin or cocaine use while finishing an Ivy League degree and those who die trying.

The people who can binge, gamble or try hard drugs and get away with it have a native cunning when it comes to risk, this and other studies suggest. They are prepared for the dangers like a mountain climber or they sample risk, in effect, by semiconsciously hedging their behavior — sipping their cocktails slowly, inhaling partly or keeping one toe on the cliff's edge, poised for retreat.

'These are highly self-directed people,' said C. Robert Cloninger, a professor of psychiatry and genetics at Washington University in St. Louis and author of 'Feeling Good: The Science of Well-Being.' 'They have goals and are resourceful in pursuing them.'"

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